My last day of "work" is next Wednesday and I'm kind of freaking out. I've decided to take an early maternity leave to stay home with my son, who is 2, while we wait for the arrival of his baby sister in June. I have mixed emotions about making this transition from working mom/business owner to stay-at-home-mom. On one hand, I cannot wait to be done and focus on my little guy and get ready for the new baby to come. But on the other hand, I'm scared to put my nutrition counseling practice on the back-burner, considering how much I love my job and how hard I've worked over the past 7 years to build it. I'm also worried that I will go crazy at home. That somehow my brain will turn to mush, I won't ever shower again (let alone wear make-up), I'll live in yoga pants and all I will do is breastfeed and play with playdough. I know I'm being over-dramatic, but sometimes this is what I picture.
Here's the thing. My husband and I have decided that I'm likely not only going to take a year off this time, but I might take 2, 3, or even 4 years off. Yep. I might become a real, live stay-at-home-mom. And I'm excited and terrified at the same time.
Over the past several years, I've built a nutrition counseling practice from the ground up despite a lot of self-doubt and many hurdles along the way. I am very passionate about the work that I do and now know that with passion and a lot of perseverance, anyone who wants to badly enough, can create her own dream job. And now that I have the clients, the referrals, the perfect office space and the best job ever, I'm going to put it on hold. Potentially for a few years.
Am I crazy?
Very recently, I've had to tell potential new clients that I cannot take them on because I'm going on maternity leave. Every time I do that, it kills me, just a little. To think that a short 7 years ago I was hoping, wishing and practically begging for clients (I'm sure many entrepreneurs out there can relate). And now I'm telling them that I can't see them? I guess we do crazy things when we become moms? Make decisions that we never thought we'd make, but somehow just make sense?
But there are reasons that I've decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Aside from the fact that I am extremely fortunate to BE ABLE to stay at home (which is something that I'm extremely grateful for), I also know that these years are going to fly by and that I want to be the one who raises my kids and witnesses, first-hand, all of their milestones. Don't get me wrong, I completely respect moms who work (I'm one of them at the moment) out of necessity or out of choice. But there is something inside of me that is telling me (maybe it's my gut instinct?) that I need to be at home for a few years. And I'm excited about this new chapter and know that eventually I will find my groove, and it will be wonderful in so many ways.
But sometimes I actually wonder if I'm cut out for it...the whole stay-at-home-mom thing.
Here are my worries:
I'm worried that I'm not going to have any "me-time" anymore.
I'm not sure how I'm going to keep busy for 8-10 hours with a 2.5 year old and a newborn every day and not go crazy.
I'm worried about finances.
I'm worried that I'm going to miss out on amazing work opportunities.
I'm worried that I will lose part of my identity.
I'm worried that I'm going to be restless and not enjoy the time that I spend with my kids.
I'm worried that when I do return to nutrition counseling, I'll have to start from square one.
And finally, I'm worried that I won't have time to balance everything—being a good mom and wife, keeping up with my writing and blogging (because this is something I am definitely not putting on hold), staying caught up on current nutrition trends/research, nurturing my friendships, staying fit etc.
Can anyone relate?
Despite these worries, I also know that I won't ever regret, for one second, spending this time with my kids. And I also know that my work will wait for me and that instead of giving up my business, it may morph into something that I can manage while being at home with kids. I'm hoping that with writing my weekly blogs and maybe even working on some exciting new projects (in my spare time, right?), I will keep my foot in the amazing world of nutrition and health. And maybe I will never find that "perfect balance" that we all strive to achieve as moms. But I will do my best to roll with the punches, enjoy the precious moments that I have with my son and new baby daughter-to-be and amidst the chaos, take time for myself sometimes.
Wish me luck!!